Walnut Room this way

Walnut Room this way

Monday, December 12, 2011

Grades are in, I'm not in Texas, and is this iPad really worth what it cost?

I should be in Texas right now, sitting down to dinner with my folks.  I'll say one thing about all the years that Randy and I have left for Texas the moment the semester was over: I could grade in the car while he drove, and then enter grades as soon as we hit the Internet.  Many the year I entered grades on my iPhone.  I really did not want to do that for a change, and thought I would manage to get them all done by yesterday so I could depart early this morning.

 Libby has patiently watched me at the computer all day long...for the umpteenth time this week, nae, this month.  When I called my mom to tell her I was not only not in Texas, I was not even out of Mississippi, because I just submitted my grades a nano-second ago, she said: "You know why?  Because you really read the papers, and take time to evaluate them,  instead of just glancing at them and marking something."  She's right--it's my curse.  I go to a lot of trouble and extra work to provide a rubric for each assignment for how I will evaluate it, so I figure I ought to use it.  I confess, when the rubric says how many examples they need to provide, how many theories they need to use, which aspects of the model they need to address, it is really difficult for me to cut some slack on students who don't use even one example, don't use even one theory, don't use the part of the model I said to use, etc, ad infinitum.  When a student has the questions for the final exam a week in advance of the due date, and the exact information needed to answer the question is to be found in my lecture notes, the text book, or the assigned readings, or assignments already supposed to have been done, and then still does not actually address what was asked, it's hard for me to cut some slack.
Picture: Orchid from a former student; brought it home to nurture over the break.

 Now, here's the deal in Mississippi: If you are even a somewhat regular reader: you already know what I think about the reading comprehension ability of many of the students who live here.  I don't blame them. After all, if you got all the way through high school and admitted to a university, and are a senior (that's when I get them) and somehow you have made it that far, you might think you have the necessary skills.  But, and here's the rub, when I ask a question like "What knowledge from non-social work  classes do you need to know to ______?" and students start talking about anything but the other classes they have taken outside of social work, I have to wonder.  Non-social work classes answers: history, to understand in what era they lived and how that might have affected development and world-view; political science, to understand if they were able to vote, or what it took to become franchised; English, to understand their literacy, language skills, etc.; Philosophy, Sociology, etc.  Unrelated to the question answers: hearing impairments, cultural background, medication, etc.
Picture: Debra's orchid from a student; brought it home to attempt to revive it.

 I really want students to succeed.  I send countless emails, respond to emails 24/7,  write notes on their papers, ask them to come meet me with.  I can count on the fingers of one hand how many students out of all 3 classes I taught this semester did so.  I confess to struggling with the idea that a student wants to "pass" more than she or he wants to "learn."  I will work all day long to help a student grasp a concept when she or he really wants to understand.  I have had those students this semester who did that: who were in my office and discussing issues with me in the attempt to figure out a concept.  I am going out on a limb here and saying I would rather have that person be helping me someday if I am in a hospital or a nursing home than the one who struggled academically but never once bothered to come talk to me and attempt to understand.
Picture:  Sometimes, it's good to be someone else.

And the iPad?  Honestly, I thought it would take better pictures.  I wanted something that would let me access the Internet when I did not have Internet, yet with a bigger screen than my iPhone.  For someone who is so easily amused, sometimes, I am so easily disappointed.

No comments: